Denver Contractors Beware

There is a troublesome provision in the Denver, Colorado Building Code. It reads:

Section 207. LICENSE RESPONSIBILITY.

(a) General. All licensees shall be responsible for performing the work under the provisions of this Building Code, including, but not limited to the following items:

1. To report in writing to the Department within 3 working days any accident occurring in any construction, demolition, or undertaking which has resulted in lost time, injury or death to any person or damage to any building, structure or utility.

This provision appears to require that every time someone at or near a construction site cuts his finger, or stumbles over his own shoelaces, or when there is a small fire causing minor damage, a written report must be made to the Denver Building Department by all licensed contractors on the project.

Reason would suggest that only those licensed contractors aware of the accident would be required to report.

Failure to so report could subject the offenders to fines of up to $300.00 and jail terms of up to 90 days in the county slammer.

Undoubtedly, the authors of the Building Code provision intended the section to apply only to serious accidents involving damage which could possibly impair the integrity of the project structure or one of its major systems. That would be a legitimate concern to the Building Department. However, that is not how the code provision presently reads.

The construction industry is already plagued with an abundance of governmental reporting requirements. Construction related injuries must frequently be reported to OSHA, the worker's compensation authority, insurance carriers and perhaps others. Any non-essential reporting requirements should be eliminated.

Contractor-licensees in the City & County of Denver should accordingly be aware of the above-quoted Building Code provision and should adopt procedures for compliance. They should also, through their elected representatives and industry groups, endeavor to have the badly-worded provision either substantially modified or perhaps even repealed.